The 10 biggest benefits of content marketing for HR tech businesses
HR tech businesses invest huge amounts into content marketing. The 2021 State of Inbound report finds content marketing accounts for 26% of B2B marketing budgets, for instance.
In a nutshell that’s because content marketing has huge potential to drive sales and fuel growth. That’s true in B2B more broadly, and especially so in the competitive HR tech space.
Before we dig in though, these benefits come with a flashing neon proviso: they only apply to good content. That is, content that adds value to your audience.
It’s pretty common in high-growth HR tech companies for everyone still to wear loads of hats and ideas to happen collaboratively. Everyone has something cool they want to shout about – but make sure the customer’s not getting lost. Your content marketing program must serve your customer, not your internal stakeholders.
Let’s look at the benefits of content marketing that puts your audience first.
10 advantages of content marketing in HR tech
1 – Great content creates trust
B2B is plagued by customer mistrust. And if you’re thinking “yeah, but not us”, you’re probably wrong.
Forrester’s 2021 Brand and Communications Survey found that 90% of B2B marketing and brand leaders think their customers believe and rely on their commitments more than average. While actual trust scores from customers across industries were dramatically lower. In the UK, only 47% of respondents to Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2020 said they trust businesses. In Germany, 48%. France, Spain, and the US, 50%. Australia, 52%.
That matters because, as Forrester write:
“B2B companies that earn trust with their brand constituents — customers, prospects, employees, partners, and influencers — will experience increased levels of engagement, loyalty, and advocacy. Customers who trust are more likely to renew, entertain a new product or service, and recommend the company to others. Employees who trust are more likely to become brand ambassadors who then fuel better customer experiences.”
More trust translates into stronger communities, more leads, more sales, longer retention, and larger customer lifetime value. Trust turns customers and employees into an army of advocates. It’s a virtuous circle.
81% of global buyers say trust is a deciding factor in a purchase decision
Content that provides value creates brand trust by nurturing relationships. It gives away value without demanding anything in return. It’s helpful, honest, upfront. Good content improves your brand’s visibility and reputation.
2 – Create brand resonance
The HR tech space is crowded, we all know that. HR and talent professionals are bombarded with content from different vendors; often buried under same-same messaging. The red-hot state of HR tech funding is testament that there’s still scope for leaders to step forwards and stand out.
Great content is tethered in your positioning, which is tethered in your unique story, value, product, and purpose. By consistently beating that drum – even in top-funnel content that might have little overtly to do with your brand – you build a distinctive asset.
Great content is one of your biggest levers to differentiate from every other HR tech business trying to earn attention. That’s one of the core benefits of content marketing in this space.
3 – Great content snowballs into better visibility and credibility
Content marketing is a medium-to-long-term tactic. If you were starting from scratch, you’d typically be looking at around a year to start building meaningful SEO juice. And that’s only if you were approaching SEO the right way to start with.
But once momentum builds, it can snowball fast.
Producing quality content consistently within your space builds SEO presence and domain authority, so more prospective customers find you. More traffic = more conversions, if your content’s valuable and the traffic’s right. Visibility and credibility are a magic duo.
Decreases bounce rate
Increases domain authority
4 – Navigate complex B2B buying journeys
Mark Ritson recently spoke to The Marketing Meetup community about the mini MBA. One of the Qs that came up was the difference between B2B and B2C marketing. He outlined two big differences – the first being “the decision-making unit or buying committee”.
77% of B2B buyers say their last purchase was very complex, Gartner say. “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they have gathered independently and must de-conflict with the group.”
Content marketing is the perfect tool for HR tech (and B2B more broadly) because it allows you to add value to these buckets of people in different ways, with content tailored to their needs.
Check out our free eBook to learn how to build kick-ass buyer personas.
Content is also an excellent way to start approaching different buyers in new ways, without pivoting away from your legacy buyers, as the business grows.
An example: Say you’re a people analytics provider. You could create an eBook for CEOs showing how people analytics drives business transformation, an ROI calculator for CFOs, and an actionable workbook for HR leaders. You could create educational customer success content to convert free trial users while aspirational thought-leadership content to fuel a community-led growth strategy.
5 – Cement sales and marketing alignment
Let’s come back to Mark’s second fundamental difference between B2C and B2B: In B2B, “tactically, 70% of your marketing, execution-wise, is salesforce.” This means the most important thing as a marketer is “you have to have a good relationship with your sales team.”
Great content cements this relationship between sales and marketing, because great content stems from this relationship. Marketing should never work in a vacuum, instead working closely with sales to better understand your HR tech buyers’ pains and frustrations.
This way, you can create content that resonates with your audience based on the real-life client conversations your sales team are having. And your sales team are an invaluable promotion channel for your content: direct to source.
By providing sales with useful, relevant content that’ll better help them convert prospects, you give your investment the best chances of delivering ROI.
6 – Decrease cost-per-lead
Although most of the data doing the rounds is old, content marketing is typically accepted as the most cost-effective marketing strategy. (There’s an old HubSpot stat that still gets quoted, that inbound marketing delivers 62% lower cost-per-lead than outbound, for instance.)
There’s a reason 82% of brands were actively investing into content marketing in 2021, up from 70% in 2020.
That said, content is still a major expense. InvestisDigital’s comprehensive content marketing cost breakdown estimates up to $50,000 a month, depending on your ambitions and resources. When there’s this much skin in the game, you need to get content marketing right. You’re not gaming the system by investing into cheap volume-centric content. Quality over quantity. Ideally both.
7 – It's a great time to help HR audiences navigate change
Content marketing is especially powerful for HR tech businesses now, because the pandemic has caused huge upheaval for your audience. HR leaders are facing huge – “unprecedented” 🙄 – challenges and challenges mean new opportunities.
Rarely is an audience so hungry for support; so primed to invest, if you prove how your solution solves. That’s a natural opportunity gap for content marketers.
8 – Agile marketing teams are the norm for HR tech
The HR tech market is explosive and still pretty volatile. New disruptors are springing up and gaining funding constantly, so you get lots of high-growth businesses that aren’t far removed from their start-up roots.
This often means small marketing teams with big ideas, and little bureaucracy to stall progress. A petri dish for creativity. Great content marketing has creativity at its core – that’s something that’s easily forgotten, overwhelmed by a formulaic approach.
It’s not everything – you also need strategy, investment, the right team, and so on. But organisations that are inherently set up for creative thinking have a headstart on the content marketing game.
9 – Personalised content fuels Account-Based Marketing
In 2021, 70% of marketers were using ABM – an increase of 15% on the year before. ABM makes a lot of sense in the competitive HR tech space, allowing organisations to pinpoint target a handful of key accounts in an efficient way. ABM is a great antidote when your content otherwise feels like a drop in your competitors’ ocean.
Fuelling ABM is one of the biggest benefits of content marketing, empowering you to shorten sales cycles, improve close rates, and ultimately increase revenue. While also being extremely cost-effective. (84% of companies using ABM said ROI was highest here than any other type of marketing activity).
10 – Customer success content reduces churn
Content marketing isn’t just powerful for acquisition – it can also be a powerful part of your customer experience strategy. HR tech is such a competitive space, organisations are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate on experience – and by extension, reduce churn.
Churn is a survival-critical metric for any SaaS business, HR tech included. Too high churn and recurring revenue stalls and customer lifetime value drops, impacting how much you can afford to spend on acquisition in the first place. Getting a handle on churn is one of the most basic tenets of HR tech growth.
Think of great content as an extra member of your customer success team – only one that’s always available and has unlimited reach. Customer success content helps your customers get more value from your product, solving their challenges and introducing them to exciting new use cases (wooo, upsells 🎉).
Great content drives growth. Not any content.
Whether your content marketing budget’s £10K or £100K/month, your guiding principle should always be value.
Don’t rush towards quantity if you haven’t got the quality right first. Churning out heaps of content doesn’t automatically drive growth. If your idea of content marketing is endless brand PR and company announcements – or, shudder, cheap content mills – you’re not maximising your investment.
Great content is well-written, engaging, interesting content. It’s content that inspires, educates, challenges. It’s content that, above all, serves your audience. That’s where your focus should be.
HR Tech Copy is a boutique copywriting consultancy run by Ettie Holland. We help (you might’ve guessed) HR tech and recruitment tech businesses drive growth.